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Josephine County salmonella cases traced to national outbreak from red onions

The local cases of salmonella were a part of a much larger outbreak linked to red onions sold by a California supplier, public health officials said.

Posted: Aug 10, 2020 2:17 PM
Updated: Aug 10, 2020 2:23 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A cluster of Salmonella cases in Josephine County have been linked to a much larger outbreak in Oregon and around the country caused by red onions, according to Josephine County Public Health.

In mid-July, public health officials said that multiple cases of Salmonella had been traced to food consumed at Si Casa Flores in Grants Pass. Specimens collected from the restaurant later tested negative, indicating that any contaminated ingredients were no longer present.

By the end of July, Oregon and national public health agencies had found the culprit — red onions shipped from Thomson International, Inc., in Bakersfield, California.

Josephine County Public Health confirmed on Monday that the local cases were part of the larger outbreak, which sickened more than 400 people in 40 states and in Canada. There were 76 reported cases in Oregon, including eighteen hospitalizations.

In Josephine County, five people fell ill and two were hospitalized with this strain of Salmonella bacteria. While these five cases were linked to Si Casa Flores, Josephine County Public Health officials said that they do not believe diners at the restaurant are at risk of further exposure.

“We have been working closely with the managers and staff at Si Casa Flores to ensure the continued safety of its customers,” said Mike Weber, Josephine County Public Health director. “This restaurant has done everything right in this unfortunate situation, and customers should feel safe dining there. I recently enjoyed a meal there myself.”

About 400 to 500 cases of salmonellosis are reported in Oregon every year. For most people, the illness lasts up to a week and leads to recovery, though some get more severe infections.

"People who believe they’ve gotten diarrhea from consuming red onions might want to contact a health care provider," said Emilio DeBess, D.V.M., an epidemiologist at the Oregon Public Health Division Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section. "However, most people with salmonellosis will recover without antibiotics."

People who have eaten red onions but not gotten sick do not need to seek or notify a health care provider, Josephine County said.

"If you have any of these potentially contaminated onions, discard them and wash your hands afterwards," said DeBess.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32820

Reported Deaths: 543
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7184138
Marion468394
Washington451960
Umatilla297641
Clackamas240861
Malheur162723
Lane121017
Jackson11485
Deschutes84012
Yamhill75713
Jefferson5348
Polk53015
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Union4462
Benton3106
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Clatsop2120
Josephine1982
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Crook621
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Lake330
Curry310
Wallowa311
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant100
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 809890

Reported Deaths: 15606
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2678016514
Riverside581781189
San Bernardino54478925
Orange533151216
San Diego46610776
Kern31947369
Fresno28336382
Sacramento22269406
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Contra Costa16572205
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Tulare15970263
Ventura12729150
Imperial11835317
San Francisco11143101
Monterey988471
San Mateo9843150
Santa Barbara9061113
Merced8872142
Kings756980
Sonoma7412122
Marin6716118
Solano630963
Madera448165
Placer357745
San Luis Obispo354629
Butte282744
Yolo280355
Santa Cruz23589
Sutter170511
Napa168113
San Benito134511
Yuba11537
El Dorado11274
Mendocino93118
Shasta85617
Lassen7400
Glenn5783
Tehama5605
Lake54911
Nevada5347
Colusa5296
Humboldt5017
Calaveras31714
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
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